Bill Penfold survives wild Beech Ridge race with thirteenth place finish.

Bill Penfold, of Yarmouth, Maine, came to his home track, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, on a hot streak. With finishes of fourth and second in the two previous NASCAR Busch North Series races, Penfold had worked his way to fourth in the series points standings. His race at Beech Ridge did not go as smoothly as planned, though, and his involvement in a late-race accident left him thirteenth at the finish, the last car to complete all 151 laps.

The VIP Charter Coach Chevrolet that finished second at Seekonk Speedway two weeks ago was pressed into service at Beech Ridge, and responded well to adjustments in practice before qualifying. In time trials, Penfold was the first car out and circled the one-third mile track in 15.675 seconds, good enough for seventeenth place on the starting grid.

"The car was better than we thought it was going to be in time trials so we are really happy with it," he said afterwards. "The car is driving real well today. We started 17th at Seekonk so if it goes like it did at Seekonk, we should be up front. The car is very consistent again so we are just going to take it easy, bide our time, get up to the front and fight for the win."

Penfold was mired in mid-race traffic through the first half of the feature event, unable to make progress up until caution came out on lap 100. He was one of the first to pull down to pit, where the Penfold Motorsports crew changed the right-side tires. Once the car had fresh tires and an adjusted chassis, it was much more raceable and Penfold took advantage of that to move up to eighth place with just twenty laps to run.

Following a lap 145 restart, two drivers in front of Penfold bumped and one spun, leaving Penfold having to take evasive action but was hit himself. This left him spinning and, as he was trying to recover from the spin, was hit by another car.

"Brad Leighton turned the car in front of him and everybody checked up," Penfold said after the race. "I got on the outside of Dave Dion and I got hit, got into the wall and turned around, and then someone else just drove right into me."

The entire right side of Penfold's car was caved in and the right rear tire was flat. But Penfold drove the car to the pits, got the tire changed, and returned to the track to run the final laps to finish thirteenth, the last car on the lead lap.

"That's not so bad," he said. "The car's beat up, but we'll repair it and bring it back.

"We were real good after changing tires, which we had to do because we were pushing, and then the car started to come around. We got back up to eighth and figured that's about where we were going to finish, until that wreck happened. Every race we get down to the end of the race and the guys up front start turning people and causing big wrecks. It's a shame because it doesn't affect them. They get away with it, but the rest of us have to try to drive through the mess that they create."

Penfold and the rest of the Busch North Series will have another weekend off before trying to start another hot streak on June 21st at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway. For more information on the team, visit its website at www.penfoldmotorsports.com.

-pm/ajc-